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OPPO A78 5G phone in blue

OPPO A78 5G review: A solid performance and stunning design for under $400

With a stunning design and all-round solid performance, OPPO’s A78 5G phone ticks a lot of boxes for a device under $400. While you won’t get the super fast experience of a more expensive phone, the A78 5G can keep up with your day-to-day needs.

OPPO has been one of the strongest players in the budget phone space, known for producing devices that offer a lot for a lower price. The latest release in the budget-friendly A series, the OPPO A78 5G, continues that legacy thanks to its 5G connectivity, big battery, fast charging and quality camera setup — not to mention its fun and sleek design.

Want to know more about what you’ll get for your money with the OPPO A78 5G? Read our hands-on review to find out more.

How we tested the OPPO A78 5G

I tested the OPPO A78 5G over the course of several weeks to gauge how the phone held up with day-to-day use. This included testing with lighter activities like web and social browsing, to more intensive activities like video streaming and gaming. I also tested the cameras and overall battery performance to see how the phone measured up.

Person holding OPPO A78 5G phone in blue
Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

OPPO A78 5G features and specs

  • $359 AUD RRP
  • 5G connectivity
  • MediaTek Dimensity 700 octa-core processor
  • 6.56-inch HD+ display
  • Up to 90Hz refresh rate
  • Dual rear-camera setup (50MP main + 2MP portrait)
  • 8MP front-facing camera
  • 5,000mAh battery with up to 33W fast charge
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage + up to 1TB expandable Micro SD storage
  • ColorOS 13
  • Available in Glowing Blue and Glowing Black colours
OPPO A78 5G pros OPPO A78 5G cons
  • Really pretty Glowing Blue colour with rainbow shine in certain light
  • Nice true-to-life colours when taking outdoor and low-light photos
  • Great quality screen and speaker experience
  • A bit slow to process at times
  • Screen not as responsive, especially noticeable playing games
  • Night mode photos work best with some light source

Shop the OPPO A78 5G

 

Phone Features Storage Size Price


OPPO A78 5G

  • 6.56-inch HD+ display
  • Rear cameras: 50MP AI main + 2MP portrait
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Octa-core processor
  • Glowing Blue and Glowing Black colours
128GB
$359
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Design and functionality

Back of blue OPPO A78 5G phone
Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue
  • Glowing Blue finish looks stunning
  • Sleek and lightweight design

One thing OPPO does best is stand out from the crowd with its unique, and now somewhat signature, style. Luckily price isn’t a barrier to a beautifully designed phone, as the OPPO A78 5G both looks and feels great to use.

OPPO has really honed in on this whole rainbow holographic matte-but-also-shiny finish and it helps to really set these phones apart from the rest of the crowd. While there is a rather plain looking black version of the A78 5G, OPPO’s ‘Glowing Blue’ colour option — which is what I was given to test out — is just as stunning in real life as it looks in the product images.

While it might look straight blue in certain lighting, tilting the phone, your viewpoint or the lighting can reveal a rainbow of colour with a strong hint of purple. It’s very similar to the finish on the OPPO Reno8 Lite 5G phone (which still remains to be one of the prettiest phones I’ve ever tested) and it’s hard to not be mesmerised by the spectrum of colour.

The rear cameras are housed in the top left of the phone’s back, and the cameras themselves are rather large when compared to the more compact lenses of other devices. I actually don’t mind this larger size though, I feel it adds a bit of character to the phone and the shiny finish around the cameras helps add a bit of interest. Flipping it over to the front, you have the lock button with fingerprint scanner about halfway up the right side, with the volume buttons about halfway up on the left side.

One thing to note is that a clear case isn’t included, which is a surprise for a cheaper OPPO phone. If you want to protect your phone, you’ll need to buy a case separately.

Using the phone

One thing I really liked about the OPPO A78 5G was its size. You get a 6.56-inch display, and the phone itself is rather slim and lightweight. It’s a big enough phone to give you a great user experience — especially watching videos and playing games — but without being too large and awkward to use.

Thanks to its slightly more compact size, I found it was really easy to use the fingerprint scanner on the side lock button, and it was just generally easy and comfortable to use both one-handed and with both hands.

The fingerprint and facial recognition unlocking were both pretty smooth processes. The fingerprint scanner was especially quick to recognise my print, while facial recognition was more prone to slower processing, or needing a couple of tries to get it right.

Overall, OPPO has pulled out all the stops for the design and functionality of the A78 5G. It’s nice to see a brand put this much effort into how a budget phone looks and feels to use, so even if you’re limited by a budget, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with something boring. Its sleek and lightweight design also made for an easy to use device that hits all the right notes.

Performance

  • Great quality screen for watching videos
  • Slow to process at times

Keeping in mind its $359 AUD price tag, a phone at this price won’t include the ‘best of the best’ features available. You’ll get a MediaTek Dimensity 700 Octa-core processor, along with 5G connectivity (something becoming more common in cheaper phones now — great news for future-proofing), a 5,000mAh battery with up to 33W fast charging and up to 90Hz refresh rate.

I found that, in general, the performance of the A78 5G was fine. It certainly wasn’t as smooth or zippy as what you’ll get with a more premium phone with a top-of-the-line processor, but it did a decent job overall. Using the Optus 5G network, I was able to record an average speed of 618.21Mbps.

Screen of OPPO A78 5G
Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

Scrolling through social media was a bit of a slow process, and I found videos tended to take longer to buffer (compared to premium phones I’ve recently tested). At times I also felt like the screen wasn’t the most responsive, which was mostly noticeable playing games or trying to open links, as it would sometimes need a second or third attempt to register my touch. I did find that once social media apps or a web page with lots of images had loaded, with time it was a bit of a smoother experience, but scrolling felt a little disjointed and not particularly smooth. It was also sometimes slow to load, close and swap between apps, and taking screenshots had some delay.

However, once again, you need to think of all of this with the price point in mind. While the A78 5G’s overall performance wasn’t the best experience I’ve had with a smartphone, for a device within this price range, it was fine and did the job reasonably well. Just don’t expect the super fast power or smooth scrolling of a more expensive device.

Viewing experience

When it comes to the quality of the OPPO A78 5G viewing experience, I was surprised by how good it was. The screen quality was clear and vibrant, but without looking overly saturated, and colours were fairly true-to-life. Although, when I was watching some videos, especially in lower definition, the image quality wasn’t quite as crisp or clear as what you’d get from a more expensive device.

I found that the adaptive brightness did a good job, but wasn’t quite as intuitive as a premium phone. Videos with a lot of darkness will probably need the brightness manually boosted a fair bit (although I also needed to do this with the Samsung Galaxy S23+), but for the most part, it adapted rather well.

The sound quality was also a nice surprise. You get dual built-in speakers and whether you’re listening to voices, music or movies with lots of music and sound effects, the quality is clear, has a good amount of depth and certainly adds to the experience.

Overall, whether you’re scrolling through social media, watching videos or playing games, the OPPO A78 5G delivers a great viewing experience. The quality sound performance, in conjunction with the quality screen, made it feel like a more mid-priced phone, especially when it came to watching videos. If you love streaming on your phone, you’ll most likely be happy with the performance of the A78 5G.

Battery and charging

Closeup of OPPO A78 5G phone
Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

OPPO has packed in a typical 5,000mAh battery, along with 33W SUPERVOOC fast charging (and a fast charger comes in the box). As to how this measures up in a real-world performance, I was pretty happy with how long the battery lasted. I experienced a 28% battery drain from around 14 hours of moderate usage (video streaming, gaming, social and web browsing with regular idle periods).

Streaming video on Disney+ for 40 minutes drained around 5% of the battery, while around 25 minutes of HD YouTube streaming drained 3% of the battery. As for gaming — another high intensity activity — it drained around 1% per 10 minutes of gaming. This is fairly on par with other devices I’ve reviewed, but I did feel that the battery drain was faster than other devices with comparable battery sizes.

Of course, with fast charging compatibility and a supplied fast charger, you’ll be able to get a fast battery boost in a pinch. I was able to charge from 0% to 100% in one hour and nine minutes, and it only took 10 minutes to get from 0% to 20%, so you’re able to get a decent boost to your battery in a short amount of time.

Overall, the OPPO A78 5G offers a very solid performance for a phone at this price point. While you might find it runs a little slow or the scrolling isn’t as fluid as a faster premium device, you’ll still get a decent performance, especially with its quality screen, speakers and fast-charging battery.


Related: Nokia G60 5G review: A strong performance for the price


Person taking photo with OPPO A78 5G
Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

Cameras

  • True to life colours in bright and lower light conditions
  • Night conditions needs some lighting for the best night mode results

As to be expected from a phone at this price range, you won’t get all the bells and whistles of a more expensive phone. But what you will get is a generally good camera setup capable of handling your general photo and video needs. You’ll get a dual rear-camera setup with a 50MP main camera and 2MP portrait camera, and for all your selfies, there’s a 8MP front-facing camera.

Outdoor photo of flower in bushes
Outdoor photo taken on the OPPO A78 5G, Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue
Photo of beach
Outdoor photo taken on the OPPO A78 5G, Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

Outdoor photos were surprisingly clear, thanks to that 50MP main rear camera. On a bright, sunny day, I was able to capture some rather spectacular photos with great clarity, vibrancy and true-to-life colours, although the screen brightness was often too dull to tell what I was taking a photo of in these sunny conditions. You’ll also get a nice background blur when focusing on a closer subject — it looked rather natural and required little manual focusing to achieve this.

Outdoor photo of beach path
Outdoor photo taken on the OPPO A78 5G, Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

On darker, overcast days, the A78 5G still did a good job at taking photos. It picked up a good amount of detail in the sky, and found the right balance between darker foreground objects (like trees) against a more exposed overcast sky. Often you’ll get a lot of flaring from the sky on these occasions, but it seemed to pick up the cloudy details, and details in the trees too — a triumph of balance for a cheaper phone’s camera setup. Colours were also rather true-to-life, but were a little duller overall.

Closeup of drink in indoor setting
Indoor photo taken on the OPPO A78 5G, Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

Indoor photos offered a similar experience to lower light outdoor conditions, in that you’ll get some great quality results with rather true-to-life colours and decent overall balance. I found that on screen, the images looked like they would be rather dull, but once processed, colours had more pop than I expected and there was a nice background blur. The camera did seem to struggle to focus on closer subjects in these indoor/lower light conditions; however, with a bit of patience, it got there eventually.

Outdoor night photos of tree and building
Standard mode (left), night mode (right) photos taken on the OPPO A78 5G, Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

Night mode offered a similar and somewhat surprising experience. I’m used to the night mode with cheaper phones being much more hit-and-miss than premium devices. Often if you don’t have night mode on, you won’t be able to take any semblance of a decent photo using standard mode. However, OPPO has done a good job at providing an overall good performance from its night mode and standard mode in low light conditions — at times it was even hard to tell which photo was in standard mode and which was in night mode.

Sydney city buildings at night
Night mode photo taken on the OPPO A78 5G, Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

You’ll get some generally well-lit results, although it struggled to focus at times, and the colours were rather true-to-life and results clear. I did find that very low light conditions with little light source were where the A78 couldn’t measure up compared to more expensive devices, with virtually no lightening for these photos. For the best results, night mode is great for enhancing some nighttime (and low light) conditions, but needs some source of light present.

Photo of pokemon figurines
Portrait mode photo taken on the OPPO A78 5G, Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

Moving on to portrait mode and the A78 5G holds up pretty well. Portrait photos using the rear camera turn out really nice with a natural-looking background blur, and although I felt it struggled to focus on the subject at times, the results were pretty clear and with little blur to the subject. Using the front-facing camera for selfies, you’ll get a similar quality result with a nice background blur, but I found the quality of the selfie cam was a bit sharper than the rear camera. Although details around the subject, especially hair, did tend to blur a fair bit, and the beauty filters are a little bit unnatural looking. It also struggled a little with the balance when the subject was backlit, so you might need to be careful about your portrait-taking conditions for the best result.

It’s also worth noting that the A78 5G doesn’t include a macro mode, which is often included in cheap phones. While for many people it won’t be missed, I found that the OPPO A78 5G didn’t quite handle close-up shots well, and without a macro mode, you might find it a bit trickier to get details up close.

Closeup photo of red pansy flower
Close up photo taken on the OPPO A78 5G, Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

Video quality is fairly decent, with pretty good image quality overall. I found the autofocus was pretty good, without much need to manually focus on the screen. The audio quality was also fine, although you will get a lot of wind noise in slightly windy conditions.

Overall, you’ll get a very decent performance from the cameras of the OPPO A78 5G. Considering the cheaper price point for this phone, the A78 5G delivers a great performance for a range of conditions. While the absence of a macro mode or lens able to get close up shots might limit what photos you can take, you’ll still get some stunning photos, along with decent night and portrait photography.

Note: Images taken on the OPPO A78 5G have been digitally compressed for web.

Phone plans for the OPPO A78 5G

The OPPO A78 5G is available to buy outright from retailers including The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi and the OPPO online store. You’ll need to then pair your device with a SIM-only phone plan. There are plenty of plans to choose from, with cheaper low-data plans, and plans with big data inclusions. The following tables compare a range of prepaid and postpaid plans — switch between the tabs to view prepaid and postpaid plans.

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 20GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Try using our mobile phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data each month, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. If you want to compare a larger range of offers from other providers, use our phone plan comparison tool. This table includes products with links to referral partners.


Related: TCL 30 5G review: A solid performance and easy on the eyes


Should you buy the OPPO A78 5G?

Person holding blue OPPO A78 5G phone
Source: Emma Bradstock/Canstar Blue

If you’re looking for a new smartphone but you’re unwilling to pay over $500 or even $400 for your device, the good news is that this more budget-friendly price range is packed with some quality phones. This includes the OPPO A78 5G.

OPPO has for a while now been one of the leading brands in the cheaper smartphone space. While other brands have reserved certain features or specs for the premium end of the spectrum, OPPO hasn’t been neglecting its cheaper ranges, packing some quality features and specs into its budget-friendly A series. Not to mention, the fact that OPPO puts effort into designing nice-looking phones with the pretty blue colour and its unique finish on the back.

What you can expect from the OPPO A78 5G is a quality performance overall, whether you’re watching videos, taking photos or just general social browsing. However this is with the caveat of the sub-$400 price point. You won’t get the same smooth or zippy performance of a phone above that $500 mark, so it’s important to keep the price tag in mind in terms of what you get from the A78 5G. If you’re looking for a phone at this price point, it’s worth keeping the OPPO A78 5G in your considerations.

 

Consider the OPPO A78 5G if Don’t consider the OPPO A78 5G if
You’re looking for a nice-looking phone that does the basics well for under $400. You’re after a faster performance and more responsive device, and you have a bigger budget.

Product used for review/testing was a free sample provided by OPPO.

Emma Bradstock
Telco Specialist
Emma Bradstock has been an authority on consumer phone, internet, technology and streaming markets in Australia for over 5 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media from Macquarie University and has over a decade of professional writing experience in print and digital media.

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